The Spurs have unequivocally had an offseason for the ages, considering the profound impact it’ll have on their franchise going forward. It also illuminated many of the aspects of the organization that make them elite, such as unselfishness coming seemingly easy to them.
However, there are two questions that immediately came to mind upon pondering what has just transpired for the Spurs. When’s the last time the Spurs made this significant of a splash in free agency? Furthermore, when’s the last time a team won the offseason period this decisively and it led to an immediate championship parade the ensuing season?
The wizardry exhibited by Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak validated that he’s one of the best in the business. It even elicited a premature claim by Metta World Peace declaring the Lakers goal to be 73 wins. (Why not 82, eh?)
We all know how that ended, right? It was a catastrophic failure and a career-changing season for all of the four aforementioned players. Nash suffered a broken leg that brought on insurmountable residual effects. Bryant experienced the first of three season-ending injuries. Through the multitude of changes in identity, World Peace suffered a torn meniscus that derailed his career. Howard’s change wasn’t a negative one though. He went on to Houston in pursuit of a title.
Remember the infamous “Not 1, not 2, not 3…” speech? Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James hooked up in South Beach and everyone gravitated toward this notion that the Heat were set up to have an unbelievable historic season that would inevitably be capped off with a champagne shower.
The Dallas Mavericks had other ideas on how the season should end, and the prohibitive favorite was knocked off its high horse in the Finals. The Heat went on to win the next two titles, but this doesn’t dilute the notion that “it’s not that easy.”
Revisiting history can be invigorating if you’ve customarily worn Spurs jerseys as a testament to the crazed fandom spirit that lives inside you. But it does point you into the direction of realizing certain facts. Winning in free agency doesn’t guarantee you a date with the Larry O’ Brien Trophy. It just puts immense pressure on you to refrain from the disappointment of failing to capture it.
It seems incredible. Is this even possible in video games? They can do no wrong, as they’ve ascended to such a level of excellence that has everyone wishing their team was modeled after them. And why wouldn’t you? One doesn’t simply criticize the Spurs for anything, unless you’re just not enamored by their “boring” style of play.
The San Antonio Spurs now seem to be in unchartered territory. For what feels like an incredibly long time, we’ve frequently written their obituaries after surmising that their run would finally come to a halt. But now they’re going into the season as the favorite in many people’s eyes.
Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan with Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, David West and Boris Diaw coming off the bench…yikes. If I had to pick today it would be Spurs over the Cavs in the finals. But with injury being the biggest and worst variable in sports, it’s tough to feel confident in any predictions this early.
With all this being said, the Spurs haven’t won the title just yet. The season is months away, so all we can do now is wait for everything to unfold. If that means using San Antonio in 2K and trying to simulate what you think may happen, then so be it.
The last team to build a team in free agency and win it all immediately happens to be the Paul Pierce-led 2008 Celtics; they acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. It’s certainly possible for San Antonio to become the next team to do it.
But the defending champs aren’t going to acquiesce to anything. And we all know that any team King James plays for is a threat. So let’s not foolishly crown anyone in the NBA right now. Let’s hold off the celebrations until next June.